For this customer spotlight, we sat down with our customer, Chad Dillaman, owner of Dillaman Mold and Manufacturing, to learn more about his challenges and pain points as a small business manufacturer and business owner.
JL: Tell us a little bit about your shop.
CD: We’re located in Meadville, PA and build plastic injection molds, handling the full design and build. We build molds for anything from safety products to consumer goods. We service a wide range of clients, both national and international, including general manufacturing shops, tool and die shops, shops that deal with safety products and shops that create caps and closures.
JL: What is your biggest challenge as a small business manufacturer?
CD: My biggest challenge as a small manufacturer is that sometimes I’m overloaded with orders while other times it can be very slow. It’s hard to predict when I’ll be extremely busy, the accuracy of my available hours and when it’s appropriate to take on new orders. You don’t want to accept too many new orders and then not be able to deliver, but at the same time, you don’t want to miss out on new opportunities to increase profitability. In other words, we walk a very fine line.
JL: So, what advice would you give other small business manufacturers that are walking this fine line?
CD: My first piece of advice to small businesses is don’t be afraid to embrace new technology. Yes it can be intimidating at first, but once you get going it makes business a lot easier.
JL: So, how has this changed how you work?
For example, I’ve started running operations through the cloud we hear so much about these days. It was actually as easy as logging into a website. Instead of having to come into the shop on the weekends or when I’m traveling, now I can simply login to my system through any computer, anywhere, anytime. I can also use scheduling and quoting technologies that can automate things that many small manufacturers still do manually. This not only saves a ton of time, but it lets me see whether or not I am able to take on new orders – which as I mentioned before, has been my biggest challenge.
JL: Looking into 2014, what will you focus on?
CD: Now that I can better see how my business operates, I want to look for new ways to grow. This could be through improving margins and/or adding new customers. Also, I travel often, so adding mobile capabilities will be crucial to me.
Jill Lippert, Senior Support Consultant at Exact Online